Local businesses, students and families are being encouraged to “think big” and benefit from a renewed interest in space exploration and technology.
The Morrison Government is positioning Australia for lift-off with a $150 million investment into businesses and new technologies that will support NASA on its inspirational campaign to return to the Moon and travel to Mars.
The five year investment will see the Australian Space Agency foster the new ideas and hi-tech skilled jobs that will make Australian businesses a partner of choice to fit out NASA missions.
Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the investment was part of the government’s plan to triple the size of Australia’s space sector and create 20,000 new jobs here in Australia.
“That means expansion opportunities for our tech businesses and it means career opportunities for our young people,” Mr Vasta said.
“We all know STEM study is so important as we compete in a tech-driven, global economy and I hope this new funding for space technology fires the imaginations of our local young people and gets them more engaged with very real careers paths in the sector.”
Mr Vasta said the new funding would support Australian businesses to become more competitive in international space supply chains and to increase Australia’s share in a growing US$350 billion global space market.
“Australian businesses and researchers will have the opportunity to showcase their immense knowledge and capabilities in projects that can support NASA’s Moon to Mars mission, such as Project Artemis and the Lunar Gateway,” Mr Vasta said.
“Here in Queensland we already have a number of exciting projects underway.”
A number of projects underway in Queensland include:
- The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and NASA are collaborating through the Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) flight project, as part of the Mars 2020 rover mission, which will undertake for searching past life in Mars. QUT are developing the PIXL data visualisation software, “PIXELATE”. PIXL Principal Investigator, Mars 2020 Rover Mission at NASA JPL, Abigail Allwood, is the first female and first Australian principal investigator on a NASA Mars mission.
- Investment in robotics and virtual reality, including Boeing’s VR training facility; $29 million over 7 years for Australian Centre for Robotic Vision.
- Gilmour Space Technologies is developing low-cost launch vehicles to put small to medium sized satellites into low earth orbit, and has secured $19 million in funding from CSIRO’s Innovation Fund managed by Main Sequence Ventures, and Blackbird Ventures.
- The CSIRO’s Data61, Robotics Innovation Centre in Queensland has been purpose-built to facilitate world-leading robotics research across industries of strategic importance to Australia and the world, such as manufacturing, agriculture, mining, biosecurity and biodiversity.
- Ozius is a Brisbane-based company that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyses satellite earth observation data for use by agriculture, forestry, government, research, resource, infrastructure and finance markets. For example, farmers can use Ozius products to monitor plant health and crop indicators to help make decisions on how to manage water, fertiliser and other resources. Logan City Council and Parsons Brinckerhoff use Ozius products for urban planning and costing.
Mr Vasta said the new missions would undoubtedly result in new technologies and benefits with much wider applications.
“Today space technologies boost a variety of industries including our farmers who use space capabilities to monitor the health of their crops and the location of their stock,” Mr Vasta said.
“Emergency workers use it to track bushfires and scientists to study the effects and impact of droughts.
“The Apollo mission resulted in many spin-off benefits for humankind including kidney dialysis, more advanced computing and food preparation technologies.
“The quest for scientific advancement and exploration always yields dividends and I encourage local young people in particular to engage in the opportunities this exciting sector brings.”